Raphael Vanhomwegen describes his process as “visual brainstorming,” a technique that involves rendering his digital paintings quickly “to keep a spontaneous going-with-the-flow feeling.” The Belgium-based artist depicts vertically built cities with houses, shops, and stairwells that spring up from a hillside or body of water. Whether in technicolor, neutral shades, or moody grays, the soaring architecture is otherworldly and even foreboding as it appears to peek through surrounding fog. In many works, a few figures are perched on the balcony or a swarm of birds flies overhead.
When painting, Vanhomwegen focuses on his internal thoughts and allows himself to move comfortably through the practice of adding a new walkway or leafy vine. “You need to at least be obsessed with one particular subject that you will explore way too much than necessary,” he shares with Colossal, noting that his favorites are tiny houses and moody scenes. Similarly, he strives to imbue each artwork with volume and energy, an idea he expands on:
Every brushstroke should have a meaning in order to be visually interesting. This is idealistic, of course. I am also one of those people who think nothing is more beautiful than a sketch. I almost never saw a finished drawing look better than a very good sketch. That’s why I almost never finish my drawings. It feels like adding more notes to a perfect musical piece. It’s just not worth it.